Reported by Rabindra Dakua
Digapahandi ( Ganjam ), July 13:
In a grisly case, the police in Patapur area in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Saturday recovered the charred remains of a man, who was battered to death, set on fire and then dumped at a desolate spot in a forest by fellow villagers 27 days ago, for allegedly practising black magic and witchcraft,
Four days ago, another person was beheaded by fellow villagers in Dhepaguda village under Digapahandi police station limits for exactly the same reasons.
According to police sources, the deceased, identified as Suna Nayak of Damapur village, who earned a living by selling hooch, had gone missing since June 16.
After failing to trace him, his wife Laxmi had lodged a complaint with the Patapur police station alleging her husband had been killed by some people in her village Damapur.
In her complaint she had said some people, who had been accusing her husband of practising witchcraft and held him responsible for the death of four children in the village, may have murdered him.
The police then nabbed 10 people from Damapur and subjected them to intensive interrogation during which they confessed to their crime.
It was on the basis of the information gleaned from interrogation that the police finally managed to recover Suna Nayak’s skeleton from a forest, 3 kms away from Damapur village, Bikay Kumar nanda, SDPO, Aska said.
According to the IIC, Patapur police station Ajay Kumar Barik, the accused villagers said they had warned Suna Nayak a number of times earlier but that he had refused to give up witchcraft.
Reports said, local villagers then decided to eliminate him and attacked him with heavy stones while he was returning home from the nearby Mayurmara hill on June 16.
After allegedly killing Suna Nayak the villagers set his body on fire and dumped it at an inaccessble spot in the nearby forest, police sources said.
Suna’s wife Laxmi insisted her husband had nothing to do with black magic or witchcraft and that some people had been unnecessarily blaming him for every mishap that took place in the village.
While the skeletal remains would need forensic examination to establish the identity of the deceased, the police have registered a case in the matter and conducting a thorough probe into the incident, the Patapur IIC AK Barik said.